On the other hand, to a similar degree but from a different perspective, devotion to one’s wife does not find expression only in the marriage vows, but also to remain at her side whenever she is feeling distressed, exactly like the loyalty that exists between friends or nations. When one is under attack, a loyal and devoted friend always comes through at the right time and place to protect his friend to the best of his ability.
TO BE DEVOTED
Devotion to one’s wife can find expression when, for example, a wife feels slighted by her mother-in-law, when she is having problems at work and, paradoxically, when her husband has caused her pain. A husband must stand by his wife and support her at these times, and try to understand her feelings and emotional state. This emotional support also applies to the relationship between a man and his parents.
The Torah states (Genesis 2:24): “And therefore a man must leave his father and his mother, and cling to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” A man is commanded to feel connected to his wife, but what does that have to do with his parents?
The Torah explains that a man’s ability to connect deeply with his wife depends on “and a man should leave his father and mother.” Only then can he “cling to his wife and they will become one flesh.”
As long as a man has the feeling that his parents continue to play a central role in managing his affairs, he cannot successfully bond with his wife. That is not to say that once a man marries he no longer is obligated to honor his parents, but he must differentiate between giving his parents the honor they deserve and his obligation to, in the language of the Torah, “be free in his home” (Deuteronomy 24:5).
This includes protecting his wife and, of course, solid communication with her that transcends all other relationships. This can express itself through shared experiences and activities, pleasant conversation, praise and encouragement, a listening ear, and a strong emotional connection.
Adapted from 'Happily Married – The Complete Guide to a Successful Jewish Marriage' For Men, by Rabbi Zamir Cohen. Click Here to Buy Now